FONTENELLE CONVERSATIONS ON THE PLURALITY OF WORLDS PDF

Published in , the book is remarkable, not so much for its literary merits as for the ultimate function its publication served. Hitherto, all scientific knowledge had been written only for other scientists and usually in some classical language. The answer to that question represents the second reason the book is remarkable. As Nina Rattner Gelbart puts it in the introduction to the edition of Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds :.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again.

Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Hargreaves Translator. Nina Rattner Gelbart Introduction. Surveying the night sky, a charming philosopher and his hostess, the Marquise, are considering the possibility of travelers from the moon. Would that please you? Through a series of informal dialogues that take place on successive evenings in the marquise's moonlit gardens, Fontenelle describes the new cosmology of the Copernican world view with matchless clarity, imagination, and wit.

Moreover, he boldly makes his interlocutor a woman, inviting female participation in the almost exclusively male province of scientific discourse. The popular Fontenelle lived through an entire century, from to , and wrote prolifically. Hargreaves's fresh, appealing translation brings the author's masterpiece to new generations of readers, while the introduction by Nina Rattner Gelbart clearly demonstrates the importance of the Conversations for the history of science, of women, of literature, and of French civilization, and for the popularization of culture.

Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published June 22nd by University of California Press first published More Details Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details.

More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds. Feb 01, Stacia rated it it was amazing Shelves: , europe , favorites. At times, he is spookily prescient. It makes me smile to even imagine him witnessing a space shuttle expedition or the preparations of sending people to Mars. A complete delight. A concoction of exaggerated Copernican scientific views on the cosmos, presented through a fictitious setting A 17th look at astronomy A rather interesting read for those thus inclined, I listened to an audio version with varied readers.

Aug 17, Steve Joyce rated it it was amazing. This is a short one but a good one. The tale is only some odd pages long it was revised countless times by the author thru the decades; this is the 1st printing from The Univ of Cal Press publication which I read is supplemented with both a lengthy Introduction and Translator's Preface which add even more interest.

Apparently, the tome was very well received and influential. However, H. Hargreaves the translator cautions about This is a short one but a good one. Hargreaves the translator cautions about classifying it as early science fiction. If not directly on the s. I found it fascinating that - more or less - Fontenelle had handle on the solar system, stars as suns even positing that they "expired" and reappeared , galaxies as collections of suns, etc. Oddly, when speculating about life on other planets, he dismisses Mars in favor of the others!

Different and very worthwhile. Jun 12, Claire added it Shelves: science. The sense of wonder and curiosity about other life gives this the flavor of an early form of science fiction. For instance, he takes a detour at the beginning to argue that the life on other planets is unlikely to be human, thus there is no conflict with man being descended from Adam and Eve.

The book also seems surprisingly feminist for the time. The protagonist is a woman and it is made clear that women are viewed as being capable of the reason necessary to understand science. In multiple places, the Marquise contradicts her teacher who acknowledges that she has made a compelling argument and he is wrong. On the other hand, the treatment of race is not so forward-thinking. It is shocking and eye-opening to see what blatantly racist ideas were mainstream at the time and how they were mixed into scientific arguments to make a certain point.

First read this over thirty years ago, while researching G Bruno's influence on the 17C moon-mappers Langrenus, Hevelius, and Riccioli whose names we still use, like the Mare Tranquillitatis. Fontenelle not Martin, the ed was good then, and perhaps even better now. As the protagonist converses on her estate the Marquise's she asks how we know there can be people on the Moon.

He says, "What if there were no business between Paris and its suburb St Denis? Il repondra hardiment que non. But the tow places both have clock-towers, large buildings, and similar walls.

Saint Denis is our Moon. The Marquise asks, "Well, what sort of inhabitants can they possibly be? View 1 comment. Sep 09, Tim rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. I read this in a few hours. It's actually charming for a scientific text. Written as a pleasant conversation about the Copernican system in the gardens of a moonlit palace, it is a great reminder that good scientific writing should clarify and teach.

Fontenelle writes with clarity and makes the Copernican system understandable to all readers instead of trying to impress the "establishment" with his expertise. Apr 28, Laura Bindernagel rated it it was amazing. The introduction did a nice job providing that context. I also liked the format, that of a conversation between two people, one a bright woman; again, very progressive for the time. Sep 14, Linda rated it it was amazing. This book was written in and is translated from French.

I had to read it for my History elective class in college. I found it to be an extremely interesting read because it explores imagination and ideas about science at the current time in through the conversations of a physicists and an aristocrat lady.

The language is eloquent and beautiful. The conversation is very deep and thoughtful. Definitely a good exploration into the past nouveau. I really hope I can get my hands on the full This book was written in and is translated from French.

I really hope I can get my hands on the full French version to read. Witty book trying to explain in the simplest terms how the Earth is spinning on itself and around the sun.

And many other things -- like eclipses and moon cycles. The book is set as a conversation between the author and an aristocratic lady. Cherchez ailleurs vos philosophes. This is an enjoyable excursion into 17th century ideas about the constitution and potential for life in the solar system. Written in light of telescopic observation and general knowledge about the period and spatial arrangement of the visible planets including the then newly discovered satellites of Jupiter and Saturn.

It is light on technical detail and heavy on speculation, but gives a sense of the view of the world from at least one scientifically informed thinker of the time and is an intere This is an enjoyable excursion into 17th century ideas about the constitution and potential for life in the solar system. It is light on technical detail and heavy on speculation, but gives a sense of the view of the world from at least one scientifically informed thinker of the time and is an interesting popularization of science.

I found the text very readable but never having read the French original or other translations into English that is all I can say on the quality of translation. Note this book includes various ideas of the time that have since been refuted from the rather fanciful Cartesian vortex theory of planetary motion to pernicious if brief generalizations about Arabs and blacks.

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Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds

Surveying the night sky, a charming philosopher and his hostess, the Marquise, are considering thep ossibility of travelers from the moon. Would that please you? Through a series of informal dialogues that take place on successive evenings in the marquise's moonlit gardens, Fontenelle describes the new cosmology of the Copernican world view with matchles clarity, imagination, and wit. Moreover, he boldly makes his interlocutor a woman, inviting female participation in the almost exclusively male province of scientific discourse.

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A Plurality of Worlds

It offered an explanation of the heliocentric model of the Universe, suggested by Nicolaus Copernicus in his work De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. The book is Fontenelle's most famous work and is considered to be one of the first major works of the Age of Enlightenment. Unlike many scientific works of its time, Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds was written not in Latin , but in French and is notable as one of the first books to attempt an explanation of scientific theories in popular language. In the preface, Fontenelle addresses female readers and suggests that the offered explanation should be easily understood even by those without scientific knowledge. A precursor includes Giordano Bruno 's De l'infinito, universo e mondi.

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